BiRD - Birkbeck Research Data

    Au pairing after the au pair scheme: Interviews

    Cite as: Cox, Rosie (2015): Au pairing after the au pair scheme: Interviews. UK Data Service. doi: https://doi.org/10.5255/UKDA-SN-851638

    Description

    This is a collection of 15 qualitative interviews with families who currently host or have hosted an au pair in the UK. The interviews asked about motivations for hosting an au pairs, how the au pair fits in to family life and how hosting an au pair to carry out childcare fits with hosts' childcare philosophies.
    This project investigates the lives of au pairs and host families in the UK. Au pairs are now depended upon by thousands of British households to provide childcare and help with housework and there is evidence that au pairs are now less distinguishable from other domestic workers. However, au pairs are not protected by employment law. They have no right to a minimum wage, nor defined maximum working hours nor a right to holidays. The project aims are: to investigate the effects of changes to recent UK immigration legislation on the supply of au pairs within the UK. to examine the place of au pairing in the life and work trajectories of au pairs. to evaluate the subjective experience of au pairs. to examine understandings of au pairing within host families’ narratives of (good) parenting. The project uses four methods: an on-line survey and analysis of existing data to provide an overview of the nature and extent of au pairing in the UK; in-depth interviews with au pairs to explore their experiences; interviews with host families to uncover how au pairing to fits with their identity as parents and interviews with key informants to provide context.

    Collection Method

    We interviewed 15 au pair hosts who between them had hosted over 50 au pairs over a number of years We aimed to interview 40 people (men and women) who had employed or who currently did employ someone they identified as an ‘au pair’ We were surprised to find that making contact with employers of au pairs who were prepared to be interviewed about their experiences was one of the most challenging aspects of the project. The surprise was because based on experiences of previous research projects we had assumed that we would be able to make contact with employers more easily through agencies, personal contacts, advertising on websites such as mumsnet and through snowballing. However, we found this was not the case and it was a frustrating aspect of the project. We offered a £10 M&S voucher to all those interviewed. Agencies We contacted au pair agencies to ask if we could send out a flier to employers on their books but we had no response. We attempted to make contact with employers by posting ads on facebook pages used by families seeking an au pair and by placing ads on sites such as mumsnet and netmums. We had no success with the facebook postings and very limited success with the ad on mumsnet. We found the only reliable method for recruiting employers willing to be interviewed was through personal contacts and word of mouth. This was limited to the number of people who fit the criteria for interview that we knew or could make contact with through friends and contacts. Also, for one of the two interviews who drew on contacts through her neighbourhood network and through her children’s school, this risked blurring boundaries between personal and professional and meant that she felt uncomfortable with interviewing people she had daily contact with.

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    Metadata

    Dataset Title:

    Au pairing after the au pair scheme: Interviews

    Creators:

    Cox, Rosie

    School/Department:

    Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Geography, Environment and Development Studies

    Keywords:

    HOUSEWORK WORK-LIFE BALANCE

    Data collection method:

    We interviewed 15 au pair hosts who between them had hosted over 50 au pairs over a number of years We aimed to interview 40 people (men and women) who had employed or who currently did employ someone they identified as an ‘au pair’ We were surprised to find that making contact with employers of au pairs who were prepared to be interviewed about their experiences was one of the most challenging aspects of the project. The surprise was because based on experiences of previous research projects we had assumed that we would be able to make contact with employers more easily through agencies, personal contacts, advertising on websites such as mumsnet and through snowballing. However, we found this was not the case and it was a frustrating aspect of the project. We offered a £10 M&S voucher to all those interviewed. Agencies We contacted au pair agencies to ask if we could send out a flier to employers on their books but we had no response. We attempted to make contact with employers by posting ads on facebook pages used by families seeking an au pair and by placing ads on sites such as mumsnet and netmums. We had no success with the facebook postings and very limited success with the ad on mumsnet. We found the only reliable method for recruiting employers willing to be interviewed was through personal contacts and word of mouth. This was limited to the number of people who fit the criteria for interview that we knew or could make contact with through friends and contacts. Also, for one of the two interviews who drew on contacts through her neighbourhood network and through her children’s school, this risked blurring boundaries between personal and professional and meant that she felt uncomfortable with interviewing people she had daily contact with.

    Collection period:

    FromTo
    1 May 201231 October 2014

    Statement on legal, ethical, and access issues:

    Not applicable

    Export / Share Citation

    Cite as: Cox, Rosie (2015): Au pairing after the au pair scheme: Interviews. UK Data Service. doi: https://doi.org/10.5255/UKDA-SN-851638

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